This text describes how the language used in social interaction evolves from the time the speakers first meet and becomes the in-group code of a given discourse community (in this case the academic community). Most studies reported in the literature of the language of groups and intimates until now have been global, imprecise or unsystematic, and have described the language as a product at a given time; no systematic study appears to have been carried out to follow through the interactions of individuals as they form a group, to discover precisely how and why language changes over time as assumed knowledge grows. Here, the author focuses on the precise changes that occur with increasing knowledge over time, and uses a longitudinal approach to describe the language as a process.
E. Alexson In her case study, Joan Cutting has now provided us with a detailed and highly systematic, quantitative account of how such forms of implicitness, as well as other features of in-group talk such as humor, were utilized in the common room conversation of six Master's students in Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh...the rigor of her method and the specificity of her analysis make this work a worthwhile contribution to the field of discourse analysis. It will be of particular interest to researchers in EAP and analysts of informal occupational and professional conversation. Linguist List M. Ozvalda Cutting chooses an eclectic approach, combining pragmatics, interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis...[and] attempts to fill a gap in the research on the language of groups, which is neither longitudinal nor developmental. This is indeed a gap. Even Swales' definition of discourse communities only mentions the acquisition of specific lexis as an integral criterion without, however, outlining how this acquisition process might happen...Apart from depth of analysis, Cutting offers an impressive and stimulating range of suggestions for further study (Chapter 8). The model could easily be expanded to non-academic communities and deal with some aspects such as, for example, the relationship between power and implicit language. Discourse & Society
Part headings: Theory and Methodology. The In-Group. Knowledge Areas. Grammar of the In-Group Code. Lexis of the In-Group Code. Implicitness over Utterences. Function. Further Study. Appendices. References.